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New Glasgow Airport base for patient retrieval team

Scottish ambulance service on runway

Scotland’s national specialist transport and retrieval service for critically ill NHS patients, SCOTSTAR, has moved into a new purpose build base at Glasgow airport.

For the first time anywhere in the UK all of Scotland’s national retrieval services will operate from a central base with immediate access to specialist vehicles and aircraft as part of a £9.5 million a year investment in patient care.

SCOTSTAR brings together the Scottish Neonatal Service (SNTS), the Transport of Critically Ill and Injured Children Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), which co-ordinates the teams.

The service is unique and provides a single integrated national service with a sustainable multidisciplinary medical and clinical team, making best use of the range of road and air transport resources.

The teams operating from the new Glasgow base will be enhanced by clinical satellites in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Health Secretary Shona Robison, said: “Last year SCOTSTAR was launched – bringing together three world-class specialist emergency services with a view to delivering greater consistency in how we transport our most critically ill babies, children and adults.

“I’m delighted to see that the new base for this life-saving service is up-and-running – now physically bringing together the specialties to improve the experience and care of those who need an urgent response from the ambulance service.

“This investment demonstrates the Scottish Ambulance Service’s commitment to providing a world-class specialist retrieval service that is at the forefront of emergency medicine. The Scottish Government will continue to support this ambition.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said:

“SCOTSTAR brings together the specialist clinical skills and transport resources required to transfer clinically ill patients in a way that is unique in the UK.  Bringing the teams together into one central base ensures that the most appropriate specialist clinical care can be arranged promptly to meet the needs of patients across Scotland. ScotSTAR delivers a genuinely world class service for these patients.

Last year, SCOTSTAR teams responded to 2,654 cases, of which 491 were by air, where specialist, highly skilled, clinical teams were required to manage the care of patients during transport.  These specialised retrievals are clinically complex and take much longer than a normal emergency response.

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